tv Politics Nation MSNBC March 22, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
about it. you got a problem? wow, that's hardball for now. next is "politicsnation" with al sharpton starting now. >> you're seeing a live picture of a memorial for trayvon martin just outside the gated community in sanford, florida. where on a rainy night last month, the 17-year-old high school student was shot and killed. welcome to a special edition of "politicsnation" live from sanford were florida, i'm al sharpton. a month ago, a tragedy took place behind me. today, trayvon's parents and attorney have met here, and later we will rally for justice for trayvon. the response is so overwhelming that we had to move to a larger venue. we start with a sanford police
chief, bill lee, has been at the center of the controversy for his handling of the tragedy, and he announced today he is temporarily stepping down. >> i'm aware of my role as a leader in this agency has become a distraction from the investigation. i stand by the sanford police department, it's personnel, and the investigation that was conducted in regards to the trayvon martin case. it is apparent that my involvement in this matter is overshadowing the process. therefore, i have come to the decision that i must temporarily remove myself from the position as police chief for the city of sanford. >> temporarily? that is not enough. this man needs to be removed permanently. let's not lose sight of the fact that trayvon martin's killer, george zimmerman, still walks
free. i'm here tonight after receiving news that no son wants to hear. my mother passed. i thought about not coming, but then i thought about my mother being ashamed of me if i didn't muster enough strength to stand with this family as i had committed. you see as painful as it is for my sisters and brother to bury my mother this coming week, it's more painful for a mother to have to bury her son and a father his son. at least what we're doing is natural and painful. it's unnatural what they have to go through, and we have to have enough strength and perseverance to stand with them. joining me now here across the street from the scene of the crime, is trayvon martin's parents sybrina fulton and tracey martin. thank you both for being with me again tonight, and certainly, i
know it's even more painful being here across the street from where this happened. let me first get your reaction to the temporary stepping aside of chief lee. >> for him to step aside, it is only a temporary situation like you said. we want something more permanent and we also want an arrest. that is just going to get us through the moment, we apt permanent removal. >> i would like to see a permanent removal. i don't think he did an accurate job. i don't think he led his parent to do proper investigations. a temporary removal is just temporary relief for our hearts. >> let me be clear, from the beginning with my involvement, you were all asking for the arrest of zimmerman and a
overall investigation of police, and you never asked just for the chief to step aside temporarily. >> that's correct. >> so they answered something no one raised in terms of the family fp may be the right thing for him to do personally to do if it was permanent, but i don't want people to think the family is not getting what they asked, this was never raised by the family, correct? >> that's correct. >> i want to say thank you for being here today in light of your own personal tragedy. it says so much about you. reverend sharpton, it is inconsequential. when he had the opportunity to do the right thing, he did not do his job. so what does that do for tracey martin, sybrina fulton and
justice for their son? it does nothing. >> let me ask you when you sit here across the street from where this happened, a makeshift memorial, your son gone, and zimmerman is still at large, there are thousands of people already at the park, we had to move from the location, and there are already thousands of people an hour ago. people last night had hoodies, thousands, but for you, this is your son. tell us how you feel with zimmerman at large and all of the support you're getting, how you feel personally as a mother and father? >> i feel outraged they have not arrested him. at least arrested him. i don't understand why they have not. my heart hurts for my son, but that's what gives me the fuel to keep pushing further to know that justice will be served. >> as a father, as a
african-american male, i personally take it has a slap in the face that george zimmerman is still walking the streets. that he has not been arrested. that no charges have been brought against him. and this is a dishonor to us as american citizens that we're not getting any justice for our family. >> attorney crump, we met with the justice department today and the u.s. attorney and the fbi, and without violating the confidence of the family, i sat here with you and the attorneys, where do you think this can go legally? >> reverend sharpton, there is a very high bar that the federal government must meet with a hate crime. what we want is simple justice. we want the state of florida to do it's job and arrest, prosecute, and convict george zimmerman for killing trayvon martin. pass the buck, now the question
is is the state attorney going to pass the buck. he needs to do his job and arrest him? are you going to rest this person for killing this unarmed teenager? all he had was skittles. >> now we have tried to reach him, he has not responded to our request. we wanted to talk to the state prosecutor, it is in his ballpark now and he would not respond, and clearly he should be with the family, have you met with him at all? >> no we have not. >> no communication? >> none. >> and the justice department flu top officials down here to meet with you today. and i think that is the concern that it seems that the local florida officials have not been responsible and accountable. when you hear the counsel and commission last night voting no confidence in the police chief, and him temporarily stepping aside, this is the first i thnkg
that they needed to do something. how did you feel about that when you were coming back from new york that at least the commissioners voted against him? >> i felt like finally they're taking a serious and thorough look at what's going on and they realize that something is not quite right right now. >> and i also felt as though the three folks that did make a unanimous vote felt as though chief lee wasn't doing his job. that he was no longer the man for that position. >> reverend sharpton? the city commission that is over this district where trayvon was killed did not vote for his removal. so that says volumes to the citizens here who are reaching out and crying out.
also in new york, this trayvon martin movement for justice was amplified at that rally and los angeles, london, and miami. everybody is crying out. so the commissioner that did not vote -- even though this was in her district, needs to be seriously looked at as well as the state attorney. anybody who does not do their job should be held accountable. if this was trayvon martin he would have been arrested. lounge is it going to take. everybody in america, how long will it take to arrest him? >> your son has become a symbol of justice all over the country and the world, we have foreign correspondents tonight for this rally, but what i want people to get to home to understand, is he is a symbol for justice, he is a
client for you, attorney crump, but he is your son. you would trade in all of this in a second just to have your son back. and at the end of the day, what we're saying and working with you in the civil rights community, is reflecting your outrage. that'sy think that i keep asking you all to come on because this is your son. and anybodies son could have been walking through here. for him to shoot him with a .9 mm, walk away like he is nothing, it is intolerable, and i'm kblad to see whites and blacks -- we have seen all kinds of people outraged. as you said better than anyone i
know, it's not about black and white, it's about right and wrong and this is just wrong. >> tracey, do you have anything you would like to say to the public? >> i would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you. we appreciate all of the support. >> once again, i would like to say thank you to people across the nation. and it just goes to show me that the people are not going to stand by and let an injust go by without saying something and without doing something. >> thank you reverend sharpton, you all made a world of difference. >> we have just begun to fight. we're going to stay with you. tracy martin, sybrina fulton, and attorney crump, what we need
for true justice here in sanford, and later we'll talk live with two city commissioners. you're watching a special edition of "politicsnation" live from sanford, florida. that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪
the sanford police chief temporarily stepped down today, why temporarily. the man that called for him to be fired joins me next. [ male announcer ] fast relief, fresh breath, all in a pocket sized pack. my dad and grandfather spent their whole careers here. [ charlie ] we're the heartbeat of this place, the people on the line. we take pride in what we do. when that refrigerator ships out the door, it's us that work out here. [ michael ] we're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing. we're proving that it can be done here,
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to a special edition of "politicsnation" live from sanford, florida. today's decision by police chief bill lee to temporarily step down does not end the questions about the police actions or inactions and mishandling of the case. chief lee told the miami harold that when the 911 operator asked the race of the suspected person, the self-appointed neighborhood watch person doesn't know. but the 911 tapes show this isn't true. >> this guy looks like he is not up to any good. >> is this guy black, white, or hispanic? >> he looks black, he has his hand in his waste band.
he is a black male. >> and the questions only grow from there. did police add evidence of a struggle to bolster the case? in a police account time stamped 2:28, there is no mention of zimmerman being bloody. but in a report filed an hour later, the officer writes zimmerman's back appeared to be wet, he was also bleeding from the nose and the back of his head. and the officer writes "at no point did i question zimmerman about the incident that had taken place" but a statement posted on the city's website says just the opposite "when the sanford police department arrived at the scene, mr. zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self
defen defense." so did they talk to him or not? joining me now is norton bonapart jr., the city manager of sanford, florida, and the man with the power to fire the police chief, and the jeff triplin, the mayor of sanford. the chief took a temporary leave today, did he step aside on his own or did you ask him? >> chief lee recognized that while he believes the police did a good job, the distraction he was bringing to the case made it impossible to move forward. so he made the decision to temporarily step aside. it was his decision. >> you're looking into the conduct of the department, are you still looking into this since you did not make a
decision and it was his decision. >> but you could still fire him? >> ne, and we have a lot of questions. i want an independent investigation to give me answers to the questions so i can make a determination. >> when you spoke with him, do you think he was beginning to understand the behavior that some of this investigation appears to be, or do you think he's doing it because it's politically wise. >> i think he recognizes that for justice for the murder of trayvon martin, he was more of a distraction than needed so he stepped aside. >> mayor, you voted no confidence in him last night, why? >> as i said last night, there is a whole lot to this investigation that is still open with questions. that's part of the reason we
have invited a lot of people to look at how it happened. my point was in my heart if i can't truly trust him in confidence from here out or from the time i got involved until now, i have to say i don't have confidence in what happened. >> let me raise this. he has been there ten months, but there has been problems going back much further than this. it is not the first case involving race, and we have been hearing from people talking since this brought all of this attention. so one wonders if a new chief will solve the problem, or if we need to deal with some structural change. lock at this racially tinged incidents with the police. 2012 shooting of trayvon martin, 2010, son of a police officer charged with beating a homeless black man.
and charges of two white security guards dismissed after a black teen was shot. are we doing to deal with the problem? thousands of your citizens are marching. do we understand that a temporary relief pill will not address the real problem here? >> i think the real question is what is the problem. and i think to look at the sanford police department means looking at more than chief lee. leadership is very important, but as you pointed out this has been going on for several years. we need to find out what the real problem is and then address it. the way that the citizens feel they have a police department looking at their best interest. >> you once said this was complete and fair. >> translator: chief said it. >> do you now believe this has been a fair investigation? >> i believe the sanford police department has done what they could. >> do you agree it's fair what they have done?
>> i think they did what they could do. now it's being looked at not only by sanford, but the state's attorney's office, and the united states bureau of justice, all of those eyes are on this case. >> i just said several contra decisions of what was said by a police officer and what is actually said on tape and put in reports, how is that fair? >> it's questionable, absolutely. that's why we're asking the state attorney to look at all of the evidence and make a determination. >> mr. mayor, you don't have the authority over the police chief, but you are the mayor. can you see the blatant disregard that many people feel they're experiencing when you see policemen just changing reports. policemen saying things that are not factual with the tape. a young man dead and no one
arrested. this young man is dead almost 30 days. do you understand the anger in this community? >> absolutely, i sat in on a lot of conversations over the last few days of people beyond this case that feel they have been aggrieved and with the sanford police department. i have taken a ton of notes on that. this is going way beyond this case, and we're going to look into that. i made promises today that i'm going to go into this, and as long as i am mayor and going down the path, we're going to make the right decisions. >> you have the responsibility as an elected official in your position in the county and city, but you also are a man. can you think about if trayvon martin had been your son? can you think about would there have been any difference between your son and trayvon and understand how his parents feel?
all he did was go to the store and was headed home to watch the all-star game. how do we explain to anybody how he is dead. he could have been your son. >> absolutely, reverend, and i have been found guilty of walking while black. i have been stopped by police simply because i was black. i have a son and grandsons. this is a tragedy. we want to work so it doesn't happen again and the martin family gets justice. >> well, it's a tragedy, and it's also a crime. because any time you kill somebody without a self-defense, even in this state. and you do not defend yourself against skitles and iced tea. that's what we said to the justice department today and that's what the family is saying. the family appreciates the
sympathy, but a crime has to be prosecuted, and it seem that's this police department and the prosecutor does not want to prosecute. you cannot have equal justice if some human beings are hurt and there's a prosecution, and others are hurt and there's sympathy. >> that's the exact reason we reached out to the doj. we went out two days ago just to get in front of the doj and said please, come in, so we can get there. i truly think we can get there. and while you're there, tell us what we have done wrong. >> all right, thank you, both of you, for coming on the show tonight. we'll be right back with two city commissioners that voted no confidence in the police chief, and we will ask them can they move to help get justice. you're watching "politicsnation," a special edition, live from sanford, florida.
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welcome back to the special edition of "politicsnation." live from sanford, florida, we're sitting across the street from the gated community where 17-year-old trayvon martin was shot and killed 26 days ago by george zimmerman. that man was not arrested after the crime, and today he walks free. eyewitness testimony has cast doubt on zimmerman's claim of self defense and other accounts have cast doubt on the handling of the case. last night before bill leave stepped aside, the sanford city commission met to vote on a motion of nonconfidence for him. it passed, and the people of sanford voiced their anger about the tragedy. >> the police department did not do an adequate job because they
used the law for them and against people that's a minority. >> it seems as though the police department of sanford, or the city of sanford, is condoning what is taking place here. >> when i see a cop, i feel like i should hide because there is never no reason for me, never no justice served for me on a young black man in this city, and i feel it should not be like that at all. >> joining me now are sanford city commissioners thelma williams and mark mccarty that both passed a no confidence vote last night. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> why did you vote no confidence? >> first of all, i felt a need to send a message to all of the citizens and more specifically, the parents of mr. martin, in
addition to all of the black males in the city of sanford, along with all of the grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and nieces. that i, too, am concerned, and i am definitely not condoning what happened here. and i want justice to prevail. the other reason i voted that way, is because i feel that the leadership has failed the citizen. and that we do not have a person in that position who is qualified. and there have been many, many, many missteps. and i don't need to wait for the report to come from the state attorney's office to make that decision and reach that conclusion. >> commissioner mccarty, this is
the latest of several racially tinged incidents. what's going on in your city and when you heard the outrage last night, what's going on in sanford? >> thank you, reverend, for coming today. i was watching news in new york, and the family's said it so good. it is not a black thing, it's not a white thing, it's a right and a wrong thing. and we are two different people, i'm a conservative, you're a liberal, we're so different in so many ways, but what we're doing is the right thing. and last night at the commission meeting, i felt as though it was an important first step to move forward, you know, with the city. just because we're different doesn't mean that we can't work together. whether we're republican, democrat, that's the problem with our country. so that's the reason why i made
the motion last night. i thought it was an important step that everybody knew, but it needed to be said. so doing the right thing is the important thing. >> and i must point this out. as you say, you are a conservative, and i'm sure some of your constituents may not agree with it, but i think that it gives a lot of courage for you to stand up and say this may not be politically to my base, but somebody has to stand up and break this cycle because this can't just be what sanford becomes known for. >> it's an easy decision when you dot hard thing but you know it's the right thing. and it will end up, this climate of change we're going through in sanford needs to go through our whole country, and we have to learn how to take and work together, and it doesn't need to be the way it is, and this family has been through enough. >> commissioner williams, let me ask you this -- you spoke
passionately about this stand your ground law and how it affects you personally, tell us about that. >> well, when i think about that particular law, i become disappointedly frightened because have i have grandson who is 11, two sons, and a husband, who are all black males that represent all other youth and black men in sanford, and i have become frightened myself because i don't know whether i'm going to lose them in the same type of experience. i don't know whether that's going to happen. and when you think about the fact that a black male in the united states, more specifically in the city of sanford, can walk for a block, and be murdered.
and because no witness is present, the accuser can claim self-defense. that is a frightening experience, and that is a frightening reality. we must do something about it. and i am interested in getting with the black caucus in the state of florida to see if we can come up with a mr. martin's law. trayvon martin's law. >> commissioner mccarty, the young man was killed right behind us, given all of the circumstances, and as you said we may disagree on some legislation, but given all of the circumstances, do you see how this police chief could ever come back? they talk about temporary, but how can he regain the trust? >> you have to understand chief lee is a good man, he did not, i
believe, have the experience -- he had not been in the position very long. could he come back? i think it would be very difficult. i think he did the right thing by stepping down. i'm proud of him, i asked last night that he do that that it doesn't go any further, and it's a good first step changing the whole climate of what's going on here in sanford. >> let me say this. it's a first step, but the healing process will not begin in this city until police chief -- the chief of police, chief lee, is no longer there. >> you have it right there, thanks for being here tonight. coming up, people all over america wondering how a law could allow someone to shoot and kill. that's next. for a hot dog cart.
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on a rainy sunday night, 26 days ago, a young man was shot and killed for no reason. it happened in this small neighborhood right behind me. but the call for justice is resonating all across the country. i'll be talking with the former new york governor david paterson, and national radio host michael basener next.
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. welcome back to "politicsnation," live tonight from sanford, florida. this community and the entire country is still trying to figure out how george zimmerman is a free man tonight. this country is wondering how the stand your ground law could possibly pass. it's the law we have been talking about all week that allows people to kill if they feel their life is being threatened. former governor jeb bush signed the law in 2005 changing florida's existing self-defense laws. florida was the first state it was passed. since then 23 other states followed and six more are considering similar legislation this year. it is beyond comprehension that these laws exist and they need to be changed immediately in the name of trayvon martin. we cannot let a tragedy like
this happen again. joining me now is former governor of new york david paterson, and one of the largest national broadcasters and authors in the country, host of a national syndicated now, michael baisden. thank you both for being here. let me start with you, michael. you have been on the show, you come in and put your full weight behind the rally tonight, we're getting ready to start. what motivated you and what motivated your listeners? >> we got together in the past, and i want to give credit where it's due. it was really grass roots. the story was unbelievable, you found out about it a week before i did. and the more i found out the more infuriated i got. for the last four days we haven't talked about anything else for four hours on 70 or 80
stations. it's offensive. i don't like to be played a fool. it's not just about race. it's also about being a parent and having a child killed. there is an insult with being told this ridiculous story. i saw you last night on lawrence o'donnell. i hit the ceiling, i was up and blogging all night. we don't believe this man was even questioned. how is that possible. all of the things we heard about the story have been secondhand, or the chief was playing, i believe the term used, was he was the spokesman for the shooter. that's absolutely ridiculous. >> how did you feel when you heard mr. boneparte -- >> i said it on my show, and i was not going to shake that man's hand.
my attitude is look, i'm a real man, i don't shake hands with people i don't respect. for me, the fact that we have a black man -- he is a black man in a position to make a move and make a decision to get a man out of the way for something that had a lot of contradictory questions. we have a lot of good cops being troubled with man. now the police department and every police officer has to defend. >> and you would not shake his hand? >> no. >> governor paterson, i have known you many years. you called me and said what day is the rally, i'm going with you. when i got to the airport this morning, you were already on the plane. former governor of of the state, you're a talk show host in new
york, why are you here in florida tonight? >> i think that when people commit crimes against other people, it can be a tragedy. but when the institutions in this country fail all of our neighborhoods, then we have a national tragedy. we have a man who joins a neighborhood watch for which he was never registered. he uses a firearm for which he is forbidden to use while on duty. he makes unreasonable judgments about the subject. he is told by the police to stay away from the subject, and he ignores them, and then he shoots them. that's one thing about him. now let's look at what police department did. they test the victim for alcohol and drugs and do a background check. they never test the shooter for alcohol, drugs, and do a background check. the shooter said he had blood on him. they never take the clothes, so we'll never know if there was any blood at all.
so it's when the institutions fail they think we have the most trouble in this country because people lose faith there is anyone to go to in crisis. >> michael i have not seen -- i mean the outpouring across the country, the governor came down, martin luther king iii. >> there is a reason -- don't mess with our kids. that's what it comes down to. don't mess with our children, and that's why you'll see thousands and not hundreds in this park today. >> do you feel that we, as a nation, will wake up and deal with these laws in over 20 state snst. >> i hope we do, we have a black man in the white house and can't get justice for a black boy in sanford. it's an illusion. people feel like it's an illusion. we work very hard to get this
man in office, and we can't get a man arrested for shooting a boy that just went to the store. >> don't get me wrong, i think the laws should be repealed, the stand your ground self-defense laws, but even under the laws, how does he qualify when he is the pursuer. it was the victim trying to defend himself or leave the area. so under the law as it stands now, i don't understand why the police did not arrest him. >> governor david paterson, former governor state of new york, michael baisden, thank you for your time tonight as we head to the rally. trayvon's final steps that night last month is next.
a walk from 7-11 with iced tea and skittles ended in tragedy. earlier today, trayvon's father, tracy took a walk. a walk tracing his son's final steps. zlim guessing he came through the gate, walked in through the sidewalk. from the 911 tapes, mr. zimmerman did say he was at the clubhouse, which the clubhouse is right here by the mailboxes. the easiest path to get home from there is if trayvon came straight down here, walked down this sidewalk, and then down the back sidewalk. he is not interfering with anybody. i don't know. the police never actually walked me through the crime scene.
all they just pointed out basically is where he ended up dead at. if someone is here arguing and your window is open right there, you can clearly hear the argument. one of these windows, i don't know which side, they did hear the cries for help. his feet were like on the sidewalk, and he was laid out this way. it wasn't even a football field length away from the back door, about 70 yards. 70 yards at best. he was trying to get home, right down the street. i just feel that it was a cover up from the beginning. honestly. i feel like they're hiding something. what is it they hiding, i don't know. why are they protecting him so
much i have no idea. all i know is my kid is dead. he is not coming back. if he had two more minutes his life would have been spared, 120 seconds. he was my hero. he saved my life. he pulled me out of a house fire. he was 9 years old at the time. a 9-year-old kid saved his dad's life. and i wasn't there to save his life. as a dad, that makes me feel, you know, it makes me feel bad, you know? i know my son was dependent on me and i could not save his life at that time. that's just a tragedy, you know, it's sad. it's real sad. not a day goes by that i don't
think about, you know, what ifs. what if he had gotten home or zimmerman had stayed in his car. what if he walked all of the way around? just a lot of what ifs. he should not have to pay the price of life for trying to get home. that's an unjust. i don't know how i'm going to recover from his loss, it's tough. he didn't deserve to die. he did not deserve it. >> he shouldn't have had to pay with his life for trying to get home. two weeks ago when attorney crump called me, i did not know whether or not we would move to
the place we are now. but i was determined to help. because you do what is right even if you can't see where it's going. today the justice department met with this family. today the chief had to step aside temporarily. incremental steps, but it shows if the people come out, they can make things begin to happen. now we must stay out. it's not about being angry for a minute. it's not about having a fit, it's about building a movement. it's about bringing justice for this case and many situations around this country. it's about what we are as a country, what we stand for. it's about fulfilling the creed that we all claim to believe in in the name of my mother, i'm going to say on this case. she would have wanted me